Thursday, July 30, 2009

still alive

This is summer right? Lazy days, beaches and bathing? Huh, wouldn't have noticed.

If you haven't caught up with the latest (and really, how would you be able to with me not writing it up here?), I've started a stitching blog over at It's still early days, but I'm more likely to be found over there than here now. Of course there's also the appropriate twitter ( and I still use the aliented twitter account to. Far more thn I actually get around to any long-winded, more than 140-character updates at least.

So far summer has been packed out with commitments. We've been here, there and everywhere almost every weekend. Last weekend was a 36 hour trip to the UK for the wedding of DrH's cousin - a fly in and out so fast that all I managed to get was an embroidery magazine, a crossword book and some peppermint Aero bars. Oh how I miss peppermint Aero bars.

This weekend we're heading down to DrH's mother's belated 70th birthday celebration, the weekend after that I'm in Munich on a course, the weekend after that is a three day Bulli festival in Brandenburg and the weekend after THAT is a three day rock festival near Erfurt where I shall be trying to distract DrH from the big 4-0.

I'm a little worried we'll come back from the festival with a convertible and 23-year old blonde in tow. You know how these big birthdays seem to affect folk.

still putting up with me

Sunday, May 17, 2009

the night itself

A few snaps of the exhibition night, when I was still reasonably together and before we ended up at Barbie Deinhoff's experiencing performance art of the swine flu and discussing tasselled pasties with drag kings.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

barbed, rosy mummy stumpwork

Now I know all three of you are just aching to see the results of my many stitching hours for Friday's exhibition opening. So (as you've seen the first already) I figured that today I'd give you the next stumpwork embroidery piece.

Behold: a kitschy tattoo classic rendered in thread and wire.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

everything, all at once

Things have gotten a tad hectic in this neck of the woods.

In news so horrible it's bordering on ridiculous, there is now the fourth cancer case in my extended family in the last five months and I'm relaying information here, there and everywhere. Luckily this one, as two of the three before it, seems to have been caught in time, treated appropriately and individuals involved are recovering well.

DrH's mum has had a shoulder operation and he's spending this week down in his hometown helping her with the day-to-day of life and trying to spend as much time working on the car. Which really needs it, let's be honest. Holes I can stick my finger through have appeared in the body and if the engine compartment continues rusting the way it is, we'll be leaving the entire motor behind us on the road one day soon.

Ahh classic cars. We love 'em, we hate 'em and we sink time and money into them. Just like dogs, actually, whom I'm missing greatly as he's down with DrH as well.

Me? Well I started full time work this week. The freelance position has morphed into a contract position and will be full time for at leat the next few months. Interestingly I'm doing more of an IT development-type project at the moment, which is new and fun and frustrating and leaves me with a screaming headache at the end of the day. Exponential learning curve. Gosh, I'm glad I'm still doing new and different stuff but, gosh, can it be a challenge.

Did you notice that? I wrote GOSH. Twice, even. This is me trying not to swear as there are so many kids around me these days I'm finding my normal statements of Holy Fucking Shit This Bastard Fucking Headache Is Splitting My Fucking Head Fucking Open are considered slightly inappropriate.

Gosh, who would have thought it?

I also have my first solo exhibition this Friday. Now I SAY solo exhibition because it makes me sound cool and arty and important, but it's really just a couple of embroidery pieces hanging on a shop wall. However it's the closest thing to creativity I've ever done so I'm damn well going to call it a solo fucking exhibition.

Of course there won't actually be any fucking taking place AT the exhibition. Well, not now that my plans for the interpretive dance presentation fell through.

But regardless of the absence of carnal adventures, if anyone would like to come along it's this Friday, 8th May at Linkle, Wrangelstr. 80 in Kreuzberg. I shall supply the embroidery and a few drinks, but it's BYO on the interpretive dance.

And the fucking.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

why, what's the first thing you think about of a morning?

DrH has been sick all week, with slightly more than the normal man-cold, and so has been home and sleeping a lot. This has lead to the rare event where I'm up before him of a morning. Neither of us really know what to do with each other of a morning on a weekday because normally we don't see each other - I get up as he closes the front door and generally I don't want to have to actively speak to anyone for at least an hour.

So this week has led to some unusual interactions when he makes it out of bed after I've managed to actually wake up. Such as:

"Good morning, my love." *hack, hack, cough, flem, groan*

"Can't talk. Must google why Eskimo's don't get scurvy."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

that stitching thing

I haven't really talked much about embroidery here, but I think I might now because it's starting to get all serious-like. I'm offering courses, selling patterns and in a few weeks will be having a small showing in Kreuzberg of some of the more advanced embroidery stuff I'm doing.

I was thinking of 1970's porn done in Or nué goldwork, but didn't think I'd get that finished in time. Instead I'm doing a series of stumpwork pieces inspired by classic tattoos. In case you haven't heard of it (and let's face it, only the terminally uncool like myself have) stumpwork is a 17th century English embroidery technique which creates three dimensional stitched figures. It's one of my favourites.

The first I already have finished, so here you are: A Flaming Heart, rendered in thread.

Friday, March 20, 2009

board games

Almost a year ago I announced to you all that we had gotten rid of our TV. While I'd love to say we were TV-free for a year it's not entirely the case. We had the TV thrown back at us just before the Olympics, so I kept it for that, and then we had housesitters through September, so we left it here for them. We only got rid of it again in October and by December I was in Australia and held fast by horrible summer programming.

Now I'm back, we have no TV and life is settling in again. Board games have become a main staple of our life and ove the last year I've purchased quite a number. We got PermanentHoliDave so addicted to Zug um Zug (Ticket to Ride in English, though with the European board of course) that he hunted it down back in Australia and tried to convert everyone. He and I spent an entire day playing game after game and the tragic outcome was that he won more times than I did.

Here, playing against DrH, I can be assured of winning at least seven times out of ten. Siedler of Catan, Carcassonne, Metro, Alhambra... I am the board game QUEEN in my house. DrH wins enough that he is willing to keep playing, but generally I am the victor. Until this week when I bought Thurn and Taxis.

In building mail routes across 19th century German States, it seems that DrH has found his calling. He's gotten this one, worked out the strategies and when so armed he's...well, he's kicking my arse.

So tonight I think I'll pull out Carcasonne again and this time I WILL be using those attacking towers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

starting off again with a meme

Gosh I've gotten pathetic with blogging haven't I? I keep thinking of things that I'd love to write and then get distracted by something else (Look! Shiny!). So to try and jump back on, I'll do a meme. Peter Bihr over at The Waving Cat tagged me for the seven things meme, which I think I did a few years ago but I'll still try and come up with some newly unknown facts about myself.

1. When I think of something I'm embarrassed about I unconciously say a phrase out loud. I'm not going to tell you what that is right now, but suffice to say that it's embarrassing enough in itself that it causes MORE situations I'm embarrassed about, which makes me say it AGAIN which.... you get the picture.

2. I didn't realise Tina Turner was black until I was in my teens. When the movie came out and had a black woman playing her I was really surprised, but didn't say anything because I figured it had to do with political correctness and equal opportunity and that you couldn't reject a qualified actress for a role based on her skin colour. I was worried that if pointed out that it was a bit weird to have a black actress playing Tina Turner everyone would brand me racist.

3. I have a chicken pox scar right between my boobs.

4. I'm secretly worried that I'm fundamentally not a very nice person and my friends just haven't realised that yet.

5. I think cucmbers are one of the most disgusting tasting things around. Okay, this isn't unknown to anyone who has had dinner with me. But they are REALLY awful.

6. I'm godmother to my husband's ex-girlfriend's child. I have a hard time reconciling the title with being athiest. It needs a new job title. And before you ask, the child is her and her husband's and DrH was not involved in child-making in any way.

7. I recently started a preparation course for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. However, when it comes to Art I'm one of those "I know what I like" people. I'm not proud of it, but I can't bring myself to care enough to get really involved in deconstructing some splashes of paint. I realise that really doesn't make much sense, so it's probably just as well that they canceled the course on me after a few weeks and now I have to find another school that offers it.

Now I should tag people, although I don't think many do memes anymore. Here you go:
Mr Baylay
Snooker in Berlin
Stone Free
Susan of all trades
Cutest Midget

The Meme Rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

putting on pants again

Tomorrow is going to be a bit of a shock to the system, for employment is going to force me to shower before 2pm. Yes, I have once again entered the maelstrom of the workforce and will be wearing more than daggy tracksuit pants for the majority of the day.

In one of those surprising events, I happenchanced upon an opportunity I couldn't bypass. I must say that so far life has consistently supplied me with fortuitous occasions and I don't feel I've ever really had to work to get work. I've applied to ads and been to job interviews, sure, but an alarming number of these oh-so-serious-selling-yourself events have happened in bars. Or cafes. Or walking to S-bahn stations. By the time I turn up at an office, dressed to kill and ready to wow, they've decided to hire me already.

Which I think has more to do with being open for different opportunites than it does with my own talents at any one particular thing. Which I don't have, at least not compared to many of my colleagues who are experts far above and beyond my knowledge in a niche field.

The new job is launching me into a brand new area, in which I currently have zero expertise. I'll be working for a regulatory affairs consultancy and expect to spend the first month or two feeling like I'm floundering and well out of my depth.

And, honestly? That's the best part.

Friday, February 20, 2009

what, you mean today isn't just about me?

Today marks the fifth anniversary of me not getting kicked out of the country, aka The Wedding Anniversary. I would go on and on about our wonderful relationship and the great guy that DrH is and blah-de-blah-blah but I don't want to. Instead I want to show off the new extension for my engagement ring that I scored.

Now those many years ago DrH proposed in a very German way by warning me several weeks in advance that he'd like to propose and making sure I was okay with the idea. You certainly don't want to risk rejection, right, and -considering that every German's response to me saying "DrH asked me to marry him" was "And, what did you say?"- I guess rejection is something they tend to expect.

So of course he wasn't going to make the brash step of buying an engagement ring and risk me not liking it. As the typical solitaire is not my cup of tea, this was a good move on his part. Eventually we found one I loved and I rang mum to tell her:

"I got my engagement ring today."
"Oh, what's it like? Tell me, tell me!"
"Well it's large and it's steel and has a garnet in it and you can change the stone."
"Oh. Well. That's... nice, dear."

But that's what it was. Part of a system by the jeweller Charlotte Ehinger-Schwarz where all the pieces are held in with little spring loaded pins and you can mix and match all the bits. Perfect, I thought, and every year he can just buy me some new stones for it - simple and he doesn't have to wrack his brains trying to come up with a present. See what a thoughtful wife I am?

This year I got an armband (to fit in the watch I got for my birthday), two amber stones and an limited edition enamel bowl called Fire.

Sexy, huh? Some of the pieces in it I already had (such as the fur). Here's what the system looks like if I pull it apart:

So you can see the pin, the hole it goes through in the center stone and the hole it clicks into in the ring. Of course, I've now been collecting bits for five years and every single time I go in there I end up buying about twice as much as I'd originally budgeted. On top of the original steel ring, I have a two fingered silver ring and now the camel leather wrist band. Here's my current collection:

Pulling them apart and mixing them around can keep me occupied for hours. Permanent Holidave, when he was over last year, sat and watched me put rings together and take them apart for quite a while before coming up with the perfect description:

"It's like Transformers for girls."

Friday, February 13, 2009

home is where the heart is

Well, I'm back. Three months, two continents and only a measly seven blog posts -most of which were focused on my hair- later. I have survived the 31 hour journey, recognised the husband, was recognised by the dog, and showered.

I am clean and home. Two very nice feelings to have at the same time.

Within thirty minutes of being home I was -surprise, surprise- on the web. Thankfully my desktop had all of my passwords saved so I can log into things I'd otherwise have well and truly forgotten. Actually I HAVE well and truly forgotten them, so I guess I'll have to order new ones soon. Just like my pin number. Again. For the, oh I don't know, seven hundredth time in the last year.

I'm thinking memory exercises and gingko may be in my near future. Or early onset Alzheimer's.

So now I'm sitting down again at my computer. In my study. At home. Where all my passwords are saved. Where my husband was alone for the last three months. Hmmm. I don't think he'd snoop. Go through my correspondence. Clear out my bank accounts of the 7.65€ I'd scrimped and saved. Read my innermost secrets in my diary.

Oh hang on, that's THIS thing. Wow do my innermost secrets suck.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

again with the hair

I got my hair cut again and I have to admit it was probably the 43 degree day talking when I said "CHOP IT ALL OFF NOW". Note to self: don't decide on a new haircut in a heatwave.

Admittedly from the front it doesn't look all that drastically different, so here's an over exposed shot to show just how short it is at the back and top now. Second note to self: if I want shots of me I should get the pro photographer in the family to do it instead of attempting it myself.

So that's it. And now I look more like a member of a Swedish boy band than ever before. I'll have to find out if they make narrow legged, black acid wash jeans in my size.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

a sevidical post

You can call me a Mummy now, for I just adopted a word.

Sevidical, meaning speaking cruel and harsh words, is now my own little wordy and I shall hug him and kiss him and call him Albert. Or, you know, Sevidical. Because he seems to already have a name. Although I do think Albert is a good one.

I'm doing it for a cause, of course, because just doing it on my own would sound silly. Apparently every year more and more words get dropped from the dictionary because of disuse and it's up to us to band together and save them from extinction. Just like pandas and polar bears and those ultra cute Vietnam leaf-nosed bats.

If you want a word yourself go to Save The Words and find one. I must admit that after I'd already adopted sevidical I spotted drollic and fell in love. I wonder if he'd be ok with another adopted sibling?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

this one's for the bloke next door

Today has reached a ridiculous 41 deg Celsius (105.8 deg Farenheit apparently) and it isn't going to be any cooler than that for the next four days. I've spent the day migrating from one establishment with air conditioning to another, focusing on those that can let me watch the Australian Tennis Open at the same time. What is it with long sporting events that makes me not want to miss a second? Ninety minutes of a soccer game fails to keep my interest, but just watch me get into a five day cricket test match. Breaking for afternon tea beats any Beckham footwork any day.

Now luckily I have the use of a car with air conditioning as well. Although it is pretty old and not really that cold, it does manage to drop the internal car temperature from The Surface Temperature of The Sun to Oh My God, My Eyeballs Just Melted.

But it works in an utterly stupid way. As far as I can tell, car designers have determined that the best place to install air vents is right where the hands of the driver are on the steering wheel. This means that with the air-con blasting my hands are suffering frostbite while my face is dropping off in a manner not dissimliar to the climax scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I've given it some thought and decided that the air vents need to be moved. One should be in the center of the steering wheel to ensure a cooling breeze on the face at all times, while a second should come in from under the steering wheel to hit at about chest height. At least ten more should be placed around the car so that people in the back seat don't have to wait half an hour until the second-hand cool air traverses to the back of the car.

Of course, none of these brilliant ideas are going to help me in the next four days, but I'd just like it to be known that I'm available to consult with any car companies interested in my amazing ideas. Assuming, of course, that I haven't totally liquified in the meantime.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I've got this mothering thing down pat

So yesterday I rolled on over to my brother's place so he could cook me a fantastic meal of kangaroo and let me play with his kids. They live halfway out to woop-woop, so I'd volunteered to spend this morning looking after the eldest kids so my sister-in-law could get stuff done in the Big Smoke. Ok, the Medium Smoke.

However today has turned into a scorcher and my brother's bushfire prevention plan (being out halfway to woop-woop as he is and in a bushfire risk area) is to get the hell out on hot days. Just in case the bush around the house explodes suddenly into flames and blocks the one escape route.

So I packed the kids into the car and brought them into the Medium Smoke, where I knocked on my mother's door, shoved the kids in her arms and went and had a nap.

I just got up to find they'd baked biscuits and now Nanna is helping them paint the footpath with water.

Yeah, this gig rocks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OMG! Like, Totally!!

I was once a teenage girl. Ok, that's probably not much of a shock to anyone who thought through the situation properly, but I REALLY only realised it about thirty minutes ago. Because that's when I sat down and started reading the notes the girls in my class wrote to each other in high school.

This afternoon I started clearing out the boxes of my previous life that my mother has been carting around for the last decade and out popped the notes. I knew they were in there - every night in highschool I'd empty my school uniform pockets of notes and shove them all into one of two containers on my chest of drawers. Those containers were thrown intact into storage, complete with years of in-fighting, declarations of Best Friends Forever and "I so TOTALLY don't like him! You so TOTALLY do!"

Man, there's some scary stuff in there and the scariest thing is that I still do remember how heartbreaking it was to have my bff go and sit next to someone else in class or not talk to me for all of twenty minutes. The world revolved around this tiny classroom and the complex inter-relationships of the combatants. Reading these notes is like watching the Bold and the Beautiful- only without all the steamy sex scenes. At this stage we found just brushing the arm of a guy you liked waaaayyy more intensely sexual than anything we'd ever experienced before.

A couple of the notes I did find amazingly cute, including a list of tapes a friend had that I could copy. I give you... 1989

Dirty Dancing Soundtrack
Transvision Vamp - Velveteen
Madonna - Like a Prayer
Roxette - Look Sharp
Bananarama's Greatest Hits
James Reyne - Hard Reyne
Daryl Braithwaite - Edge

Additionally I have a note which references two people that I can't for the life of me place. It's from Sally, who'd apparently never met me but feels like we were friends, and she had a message for Chris. There's this guy in Japan she's got a thing with, so she's not into you.

Sorry, dude.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

next it'll be flashcards with chemical structures

The past month of being in Australia has given DrH and I the chance to get to know the two nephews born since we were last here, and the two nieces we previously had met but have now reached the more interesting stage of speaking.

In a bonding session with one, who I'll call Curly, DrH had her show of her advanced mathematical skill by counting one to ten.

"onetwofeeive" said Curly.

"Four five," corrected DrH.


"Very good!" he enthused. "Now, can you say chlorophyll?"

Monday, January 05, 2009

new look. again.

In celebration of the New Year and the fact that Australia is still slightly cheaper and has two for one offers, I have gone out for a new look and bought TWO new glasses frames.

Number One: The sexy business woman

Number Two: The eccentric (yet still sexy) librarian

If you've forgotten, here are my previous ones (and another incarnation of my hair), although as they are all the same prescription I imagine I'll still slip into those ones too.

My hair has also taken on a new gestalt. Gone is the brown, the grey, the red and the heavy fringe which made me look like Velma from Scooby Doo has been replaced with a thinner, crooked look.

Because that just makes me look so damn cool.